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Locust swarms a risk to airline operations, says DGCA

The industry regulator has advised airlines to avoid flights through locusts swarms

May 29, 2020 / 07:27 PM IST

Highlighting the danger posed by  locusts on airline operations, especially while taking off and landing, the DGCA has said flights should be avoided through any known locust swarms.

"Generally, locusts are found in lower levels and therefore pose a threat to aircraft in the critical landing and take off phase of the flight. Almost all air intake ports of the aircraft will be prone to ingestion in large numbers, if the aircraft flies through a swarm," the DGCA said in a circular on May 29.

DGCA said engine inlet and air conditioning pack inlet may get blocked.

In Pics | Explained: What are locusts and why are they bad news?

"Blocked pilot and static sources lead to erroneous instrument indications, especially unreliable air speed and altimeter indications," it added.


The circular comes even as locusts have invaded several states, including Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Punjab. Both Delhi and Mumbai, home to two of the busiest airports in the country, have been on alert.

Favourable aspect

The only favourable aspect of the locusts invasions, the regulator noted, is that the insects do not fly at night, 'thus providing better opportunity to sigh and avoid them" during the day.

The DGCA advised pilots against using the wiper to remove locusts from the wind shield, as it may cause the smear to spread even more.

"Being a day time phenomenon, the pilot is also expected to keep a keen eye for any such observations...also required to share information of locust swarm location if they have sighted any during the flight," it said.

It asked the air traffic controller to share the information on locusts presence.

The regulator has also asked pilots to make entry in the pilots defect log, if they fly through locusts swarms. "The engineering crew should  conduct checks as mandated prior to release of aircraft for next flight," it added.
Moneycontrol News
first published: May 29, 2020 07:27 pm
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